It is always very reassuring to hear about alums having real, successful “lives after Lawrence.” I was very impressed by how much Lawton has done already and how put together he is. It seems counterintuitive to me to try making an artist’s life for yourself in a place like Wisconsin, which just seems like a cultural pit of despair (except for the few big cities – and Wisconsin is far from the worst state). But it would seem you could make that kind of life for yourself just about anywhere if you try hard enough and hold onto your connections in those places. And there are many more opportunities in Wisconsin than I had previous realized. (That is not to say I wish to live in Wisconsin any longer than I have to.)
One of the opportunities for artists in Wisconsin
I got more interested in Lawton’s work as he went, and I think that is how he planned his presentation. Cyclic History/This Place is No Place were amazing to me, not because of the “music” of the projectors, but because it was very aesthetically pleasing. My favorite pieces of his that he showed, however, were All Your Thens for Now and the Holy Sheboygan! pieces. The latter were so intricate and experimental, but in a way that kept me engaged rather than overwhelming me. I would love to see the band live. All Your Thens for Now was so unique and drew inspirations from such unexpected sources. I really loved the use of voice as a percussion instrument.
Once again, I am given hope that Life After Lawrence is not necessarily a black hole.